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Meat Meals Can Be Quick

December 26, 1996|BEV BENNETT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Bennett is the author of "Dinner for Two" (Barron's, 1994)

Processors and packers are willing to do anything: Trim, cut, pound and even cook meat to get you to buy it. You will find precooked and flavored chicken strips at meat counters. All you have to do is supply a handful of lettuce or mayonnaise and celery for chicken salad.

If you still prefer to cook your own, you'll find meat for stir-fry--thin, fat-trimmed strips of beef, pork or chicken--that cooks in seconds. All you have to do is add flavorings and in less than 30 minutes you have a nourishing dinner for two. You can experiment with meat for stir-fry. It's great in soup, gumbo, tortilla wraps, casseroles and, of course, stir-fry.

For a more sophisticated dish, prepare chicken or pork in a wine sauce. It is fast cooking and flavorful. Pork with lemon and dill is a delicious example. To start, coat pork strips with flour and brown in oil. Add white wine, chicken broth, dill and lemon juice and simmer five to 10 minutes. Chicken can substitute for the pork. Serve this over the rice recipe that follows or over noodles tossed with a little butter and caraway seeds.

PORK WITH LEMON AND DILL

If pork for stir-fry isn't available, cut thin strips from pork tenderloin.

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 pound pork strips

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt, freshly ground white pepper

Heat oil in medium skillet. Dust pork with flour and brown strips on both sides in hot oil. Remove pork from skillet. Deglaze skillet with white wine. Stir in chicken broth, dill and lemon juice.

Return pork to skillet and cook over low heat until well cooked and pan juices are thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. If juices are too thick, stir in 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with Celery and Nut Rice.

Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains about:

491 calories; 427 mg sodium; 92 mg cholesterol; 36 grams fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 23 grams protein; 0.02 gram fiber.

CELERY AND NUT RICE

1 tablespoon butter

1 stalk celery, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick

3/4 cup converted rice

1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews, almonds or walnuts

Salt, optional

Melt butter in medium sauce pan. Add celery and saute over medium heat 5 minutes. Stir in rice, water and celery salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in nuts just before serving. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot.

Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains about:

433 calories; 906 mg sodium; 16 mg cholesterol; 15 grams fat; 63 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 0.49 gram fiber.

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